Location: Poisonous Plant Research
Title: Plants teratogenic to livestock in the United States Authors
Submitted to: Poisoning by Plants, Mycotoxins, and Related Toxins
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 10, 2010
Publication Date: May 1, 2011
Citation: Panter, K.E., Welch, K.D., Lee, S.T., Gardner, D.R., Stegelmeier, B.L., Ralphs, M.H., Davis, T.Z., Green, B.T., Pfister, J.A., Cook, D. 2011. Plants teratogenic to livestock in the United States. In: Riet-Correa, F., Pfister, J., Schild, A.L., Wierenga, T., editors. Poisoning by Plants, Mycotoxins, and Related Toxins. Cambridge, MA. CAB International. 36:236-42. Interpretive Summary: Poisonous plants and their toxic effects have been known to man for centuries and have been utilized in various ways from arrow poisons for hunting animals for food and survival to criminal acts of murder and debility to herbal and medicinal preparations to improve human health. A common statement in many toxicology texts is “the dose makes the poison”, and it matters not whether the toxin is natural or man-made, the concept is the same. Likewise in Teratology the dose is important, but other factors must be considered such as stage of embryo/fetal development when exposure occurs, rate and length of time of exposure, animal species involved, etc.
Technical Abstract: Teratology, as a scientific discipline, is relatively new and recognition of poisonous plants that cause birth defects in livestock only came to the forefront in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Veratrum-induced “monkey faced” lamb syndrome and lupine-induced “crooked calf disease”, both studied extensively at the Poisonous Plant Research Lab, were two that elevated the importance of plant-induced birth defects to the forefront. Since that time other plants have been added to the list known to cause birth defects in animals. The ensuing research efforts have characterized many specific teratogenic chemical compounds, determined mechanism of action, described chemical structure activity relationships, and provided the impetus to develop management strategies to improve understanding of the underlying causes and reduce losses to livestock producers. In addition to Veratrum and lupines, poison hemlock, Nicotiana species, locoweeds, Lathyrus, Solanum spp., cyanide-containing plants, and others contribute to the overall losses to the livestock industry from poisonous plants.